From: Inside Story

Pistorius trial: Was justice served?

The South African track star is handed a five year sentence for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

It was a case that divided South Africa and resonated around the world: The Valentine’s Day shooting of model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp by South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius.

Every twist and turn was played out in excruciating detail with Pistorius variously portrayed as a broken man who had suffered enough, or a killer who must pay for what he had done.

The disabled athlete admitted killing his girlfriend on February 14 last year. But he said he did so by mistake, shooting her through a locked bathroom door because he thought she was an intruder.

Sentencing Pistorius to five years in jail, Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa said she was trying to strike a balance between mercy and retribution.

Judge Masipa said: “The following is what I consider to be a sentence that is fair and just, both to society and to the accused”.

Under South Africa’s judicial system, Pistorius could serve just 10 months in prison before being placed under house arrest.

So has the judge imposed sentencing to the letter of the law? Or bowed to the court of public opinion?

Presenter: Mike Hanna


Mannie Witz – a criminal defence lawyer who served as a mentor to the Pistorius trial judge.

Duncan Lamont – a media lawyer.

Ayesha Kajee – a government and democracy consultant, and former executive director of the Freedom of Expression Institute.